Journal of Business and Administrative Studies

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Business process reengineering in Ethiopian public organizations: the relationship between theory and practice

T Debela


Since 1994, the government of Ethiopia has embarked on reforming its civil service organizations with the objective of improving the public sector service delivery system. The government sponsored a lot of management training programs to enhance the capacities of civil service employees and to implement Result Based Performance Management System in all of its civil service organizations. Though this brought some improvements in the performance of some civil service organizations, the effort required was too much as compared to the benefits obtained. Since 2004, the government has also endorsed Business Process Reengineering (BPR) as a foundation for strengthening Result Based Performance Management System in the Civil Service. Scientific Management, Systems Theory and Operations Management are the theoretical and methodological foundations of BPR. For this reason, most corporations used BPR as transformation tool during the 1980s and 1990s. However, the characteristics of government organizations are different from corporate organizations. These distinguishing features constrain government organizations from emulating the BPR experiences of corporate ones. Hence, it is important to introduce a conceptual framework and a working model that facilitate the implementation of BPR in a particular civil service organization. Venktramen has developed the five stages of organizational transformation model. These stages are automation, horizontal integration, BPR, network redesign and organizational scope redefinition. The model helps to determine from which perspective to reengineer the processes of an organization - either to seek efficiency or to enhance capacity. Matching the statuses of civil service organizations in Ethiopia to this model indicates that BPR should be considered to seek evolutionary changes. In conclusion, considering the human resource and the technological capacities of Ethiopian civil service organizations, BPR can bring incremental benefit and evolutionary transformation instead of dramatic and radical change for foreseeable future to come.

Key words: BPR, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Organization Redesign, Management Information System (MIS), Information Technology (IT) , MCB, Civil Service Organizations
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